ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing is partnering with Good Shepherd Health System in East Texas and Arlington-based Texas Health Resources in two grants designed to increase the number of registered nurses in Texas and faculty who teach them.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has named the UT Arlington College of Nursing in two of the eight awards given through the 2010 Hospital-Based Nursing Education Partnership Grant Program. State lawmakers created the competitive, peer-reviewed grant program in 2007 to increase the number of students in professional nursing education programs and to promote collaboration between hospitals and nursing education programs.
"These awards recognize the expertise that we've developed and capitalize on what we have learned about using clinical simulation to teach students and health care providers, both in urban centers and rural communities," said Elizabeth Poster, dean of the College of Nursing. "Our hospital partners hospital partners have invited us into their settings to more rapidly make our mutual goal of educating the best nurses for Texas a reality."
The Good Shepherd award provides $771,035 to deliver UT Arlington's 15-month, bachelor's of science in nursing program to rural East Texas. The project aims to enroll 80 students from among the hospital's clinical and non-clinical employees.
The UT Arlington curriculum will be delivered through a unique combination of online courses and on-site clinical practice using both high-tech simulation and real patients. UT Arlington is hiring faculty to teach the clinical components of the program, while current UT Arlington faculty will teach the online content.
"Our expertise has been in urban settings, and now we are going to translate that to the East Texas communities," said Dr. Beth Mancini, associate dean at the UT Arlington College of Nursing. "The curriculum won't change. But the application can be targeted to what it takes to work in their communities."
Ed Banos, Good Shepherd president and chief executive officer, said the grant will "make it easier for clinical staff to advance their education while continuing to work" and called the new simulation lab to be established through the grant "a valuable tool for new and experienced nurses who want to enhance their skills."
The Texas Health Resources award provides $550,753 to expand an existing hospital-based program from 20 to 80 students per year through UT Arlington's online, accelerated BSN program. The project first will recruit faculty from current hospital staff and educate them through immersion courses tailored to those who will deliver clinical education to pre-licensure nursing students.
Candy Baptist, director for clinical education and academic partnerships at Texas Health Resources' Center for Learning and Career Development, said the health care system has had "great success as a learning organization in training the nurse workforce of the future through our partnership with the UT Arlington College of Nursing."
The state grant means "we'll be able to expand the wonderful opportunities our nurses have to become clinical educators, helping us ‘grow our own' nurses to meet North Texans' health needs," Baptist said.
Poster said the model programs are made possible through UT Arlington's Regional Nursing Education Center, which state lawmakers funded in 2009 to increase the numbers of undergraduates who earn their bachelor's of science degree and become registered nurses in Texas. The center provides resources and expertise in clinical simulation to partner hospitals and nursing programs.
The Regional Nursing Education Center is working to establish best educational practices using simulation strategies, including the use of trained actors and video monitoring of students for later debriefing sessions.
UT Arlington's College of Nursing is the 16th largest nursing program in the nation and has more than 4,100 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs. The College is ranked as one of nine "high performers" among the 97 Texas nursing education programs. More than 95 percent of graduates pass state licensure exams on their first attempt.
For more about UT Arlington's College of Nursing, please visit www.uta.edu/nursing.
For more about UT Arlington's RN to BSN programs, visit www.uta.edu/nursing/RN-to-BSN/program.php.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.